Dear Friends and Colleagues:
Happy December! The end of 2022 finds us in a state of gratitude and anticipation, and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank you, our readers, for taking the time to stay informed about public education – the key to our children’s futures and the future of our state. We know that many of you are educators, and we want to extend our deepest appreciation for the work you do every day to help every young person thrive.
As we head into the next legislative season, your support is critical to making sure we can continue to provide high-quality, timely resources to lawmakers and the public that advance our vision for New Hampshire: that every young person in the state has access to a student-centered, meaningful, and robust public education. We’re already tracking over 150 education-related bills in 2023, dealing with topics ranging from school funding, to privatization and vouchers, to strengthening and diversifying the teacher workforce. Your support has never been more important.
In the past year, we have played a crucial role in the state, highlighting and analyzing policy proposals and developments that could profoundly impact our students and our state, including a local school voucher program, an effort to remove the arts and world language from the state’s core competencies, and major revisions to the state’s minimum standards for public schools. We’ve also led valuable conversations around some of the state’s most pressing education issues, offered useful resources on a variety of topics, and elevated the positive things happening in our public schools. All this work is in service to providing every child with access to a high-quality public education, and your tax-deductible donation helps ensure we can keep doing it.
Additionally, if you’re not already on our mailing list, we invite you to subscribe so you can stay informed and connected in 2023!
The Reaching Higher Team
Teacher stipends, school incentive grants among recommendations to address teacher shortage
A legislative committee is expected to propose four policy recommendations to help strengthen and diversify New Hampshire’s teacher workforce. The Committee to Study New Hampshire Teacher Shortages and Recruitment Incentives will recommend:
- Funding a new role in the NH Department of Education (NHED) to support ongoing research and data needs;
- Creating an incentive grant for school districts to experiment with recruitment and incentive strategies;
- Creating an incentive grant to support racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse students; and,
- Creating stipends to incentivize new teachers to stay in the state.
The recommendations are expected to be introduced during the 2023 legislative session, which begins in January.
Read more here.
Spotlight on Student School Board Members
Schools have an exciting opportunity to incorporate authentic student voice as a new law requiring student members on school boards – one of the first of its kind in the country – goes into effect. Reaching Higher is delighted to present our Student School Board Member Toolkit, a resource designed to help schools and districts effectively prepare for student school board members. Co-authored by Mia Richter, a former student school board member, the toolkit provides valuable information for all groups involved in the process – students, educators, administrators, and school board members – and is filled with both expert advice and real-life examples.
“Doing this work authentically and meaningfully will take time and effort. But it’s crucial to ensure that our schools and systems are centered around youth and that we are building systems and experiences that support them in their learning journeys and creating spaces where they can grow, learn, and thrive,” said Nicole Heimarck, RHNH’s Executive Director. “We know that students flourish and excel when they are valued members of their community.”
Educators seek more support for dual and concurrent enrollment programs
“Learning this year about what college can do is moving me more toward college.”
–Rosima Darjee, Concord High School senior
Dual and concurrent enrollment programs offer proven benefits for students, especially those who might not consider themselves college-bound, education reporter Josie Albertson-Grove writes in a Nov. 19 article for the Union Leader. And while the program has been enormously successful in New Hampshire – more than 6,000 students are enrolled in Running Start classes around the state this year – school leaders are looking for ways to expand access. In particular, school and higher education leaders are seeking new ways to attract qualified educators to ensure dual and concurrent enrollment classes are available to all students.
Read Reaching Higher’s content on post-secondary pathways here.
Lawmakers considering expansion of school voucher program
Among the education bills the NH Legislature will take up during the upcoming session is another proposal to raise the income cap on the state’s school voucher program. Already one of the most expansive voucher programs in the country, the state’s “Education Freedom Account” program, which passed during the 2021 session despite widespread public opposition, provides public funds for families to use for private school or homeschool expenses. Currently, families must make less than 300% of the federal poverty level – about $83,000 for a family of four – to qualify for a voucher. A bill filed by Alicia Lekas (R-Hudson) would raise the cap to 500% of the poverty level, or about $139,000 for a family of four. At approximately $4,857 per student, the program is expected to cost the state $14.7 million this school year as enrollment balloons to 3,025 students – most of whom were already enrolled in private schools or were homeschooled.
Read Reaching Higher’s extensive coverage of school vouchers here.
Looking Ahead: Education Policy in 2023
Reaching Higher’s New Hampshire Education Network | Wednesday, January 18, 1 p.m. | Webinar | Free
Reaching Higher Policy Director Christina Pretorius will lead an info-packed webinar on the current education landscape and what we’re expecting in the upcoming legislative session. The event is free but registration is required: Register here and join the NHEN here to stay informed about issues and events.
School Funding Lawsuits 101
NH School Funding Fairness Project | Thursday, December 15, 6 p.m. | Webinar | Free
This educational webinar will be led by the attorneys representing a group of taxpayers who are suing the state regarding the wildly different tax rates used to fund education statewide. The presentation will cover a brief history of school funding and the NH courts, the current lawsuit, Steve Rand et al v. New Hampshire, its main arguments, and what to expect over the coming months. Learn how this lawsuit might impact your community! Register here.
Educate The Educators
BLM Seacoast Youth Division and Portsmouth School Equity Council |
Thursday, December 8, 6-7:30 p.m. | Portsmouth High School Little Theater | Panel discussion
Free admission | Snacks and beverages provided
“Our goal for the evening is to discuss and inform all educators on student experiences and comfort within the classroom, as well as create an awareness of the difficulties students with marginalized identities face within school.”
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Does SEL Make Students Ready For Work? We Asked Educators
Education Week, Lauraine Lengreo, November 21, 2022
Manchester school board approves course catalog, as de-leveling debate continues
Union Leader, Paul Feely, November 28, 2022
The path to a career could start in middle school
Hechinger Report, Kelly Field, November 22, 2022
School psychologist, counselor hiring lags nationwide even as student mental health needs soar
Chalkbeat (in partnership with The Associated Press), Patrick Wall, Kalyn Belsha and Annie Ma, November 18, 2022
How Reading – Not Scanning, Not Scrolling – Opens Your Mind
“The Ezra Klein Show,” New York Times, November 22, 2022
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about current updates. And, join the New Hampshire Education Network (NHEN), our network of New Hampshire parents, educators, business leaders, and community members who are interested in education policy!